Q. Dear Gear Guy, I want to train for my backpacking trips with a loaded backpack, but I don’t want to have to pack all my gear every time I want to train. Is there any way to add weight to the backpack in a simple but accurate representation of a full backpack?
– Weighted Shane, El Cerrito, Calif.
A. Great to hear that you’re training for your backpacking trips. That’s just plain smart! While the best way to approximate your pack load is (obviously) to carry your actual gear, try loading your pack with bags of dog food, birdseed or charcoal briquettes. All of these items are inexpensive and easy to find, and they come in lots of different sizes. And the weight of the bag is usually clearly labeled on the package. If you carry bags of dog food be careful about where you store it between training sessions because it could attract rodents.